Adelaide to Darwin Road Trip – What to See & Do

Adelaide to Darwin Road Trip
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The oldest continuously existing culture in the world is located in Darwin, the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory. Despite the distance from Adelaide, the drive there will be enough to enrich your visit with both remarkable outback experiences and cultural encounters.

If you’re looking for a road trip to explore the unique species and panoramic views, Adelaide to Darwin will be your best choice. You’ll travel through the outback, take in some of Australia’s most famous scenery, and stop in some spectacular towns.

Alice Springs, Lake Torrens, Uluru, Mount Isa, Davenport, Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park, and either Kakadu or Litchfield National Parks are all possible destinations for you to see on this road trip.

Continue reading to find out how to make this vision a reality.

Adelaide to Darwin Road Trip: Itinerary, Distance, Time, Cost, and Attractions


DistanceTimeCost
Bus 44h 35m$283 – $537
Car 29h 4m$385 – $556
Train+Car2 days 6h (Adelaide Parklands to Darwin) + 15m by taxi (Darwin to Darwin, NT, Australia)$626 – $6,500+$23 – $28

A car trip from Adelaide to Darwin is an adventure. There are infinite stretches of nothingness between South Australia and the Northern Territory, interspersed with stunning features and sites that are impressive because of their distant isolation.

The distance between Adelaide and Darwin is enormous, with more than 3000 km of roadway, and you will get only a few communities to stop at along the way. This is the authentic outback of Australia, where everything is covered in red dust, there are no shadows, and the sun never sets.

You’ll need at least 10-12 days to complete the journey to the top of Australia by car. But despite the distance, this is one of Australia’s fascinating parts to discover.

Now is the time to discover South Australia’s most famous natural attractions on a road trip from amazing Adelaide to Darwin. You will also have the opportunity to indulge in delectable cuisine, rich culture, and stunning beauty that can only be found in the Australian outback.

You can also read: Cairns to Gold Coast Road Trip

Adelaide at Clare Valley

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Clare Valley. Bungaree station established 1842. The rear … | Flickr
Driving TimeDistance
About 2 hours142km (88 miles)

Drive directly north to the stunning farming region of the Clare Valley after departing from Adelaide. It is a premium wine area in Australia and a significant South Australia pastoral district.

The oldest vineyard in the area is located here; it was founded in 1851 and is called Sevenhill Cellars. There are also 40 cellar doors in the area, such as Skilogally or Seed Winehouse. In addition, the kitchen is where you may savor delectable food.

Take around twenty minutes to reach the heritage hamlet of Mintaro. Here, you can explore outstanding buildings such as Martindale Hall, a mansion dating back to the 19th century.

You can also join the Riesling Trail if you feel like going for a somewhat longer stroll. There is a lovely walking and cycling path between Auburn and Clare, with breathtaking views of the surrounding area and numerous vineyards.

Clare Valley to Wilpena Pound

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Flinders Ranges. Wilpena Pound from the air. | Wilpena Pound… | Flickr
Driving TimeDistance
About 3.5 hours298 km (185 miles)

Before traveling from Clare Valley to Wilpena Pound, you can explore north towards the Flinders Ranges,  South Australia’s most extensive mountain ranges. For a lunch break, you can stop at Melrose, the oldest town, where you will find North Star Hotel for dining.

Then, go back in your car and travel 45 minutes to Korn. Stretch your legs by strolling through the city’s charming historic buildings, or take a ride on the real stream train- the Pichi Ritchie Railway- for breathtaking countryside views.

Now get ready for Wilpena Pound. This area is located in the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park and is far from 1.5 hours away. An enormous natural arena is located in the center of Flinders Ranges National Park and is bordered by a beautiful landscape.

Visit the pound on a walking tour led by a native Adnyamathanha guide, or get a bird’s-eye view of this stunning natural attraction by taking a flight over it on a scenic flight.

Wilpena Pounds to Port August

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Port Augusta | Georgie Sharp | Flickr
Driving TimeDistance
About 2 hours165km (102.5 miles)

Drive to Parachilna Gorge in the Flinders Ranges to see red river gums and stunning rock formations. Drive on to the Prairie Hotel to indulge in one of their renowned delectable platters of camel, goat, and kangaroos’ meat after seeing the natural splendor there.

Travel further north to enjoy an off-road driving experience along the 630-kilometer Oodnadatta Track if you have a few extra days. Alternatively, proceed to Port Augusta.

At the mouth of the Spencer Gulf, in Port Augusta, is the Wadlata Outback Centre, a well-liked exhibition space and welcome hub for tourists.

Stop by to check out the wide variety of exhibitions, such as the acclaimed Tunnel of Time, where you can discover how the Flinders Ranges and the outback of South Australia were formed.

Port August to Coober Pedy

Coober Pedy Australia
Coober Pedy Australia.jpg – Wikimedia Commons
Driving TimeTotal Distance
About 5.5 hours542 km (337 miles)

Prepare to travel the Stewart Highway, one of Australia’s longest roads. Rest at the Island Lagoon Lookout for spectacular views of the pink Salt Lake after. After soaking in this beautiful view, head to the Woomera Heritage and Visitor Information Center. The Woomera Interactive Rocket Range Museum can be found inside these grounds. 

By perusing the museum’s historical displays, you learn about Woomera’s important place in Australia’s past, present, and future. In the early morning, drive 4 hours north from Woomera to Coober Pedy, the state’s opal mining hub. You may learn more about mining’s past here. 

The Old Timer’s Mine provides insight into the difficult conditions the hand-digging opal miners had to endure to find these valuable stones. Visit one of the preserved miner’s homes to get a feel of the life who worked in the tunnels beneath.

Coober Pedy to Marla

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Marla Railway Station | The Ghan passes through the town on … | Flickr
Driving TimeTotal Distance
About 2 hours and 20 minutes234 km

After breakfast, you will depart this morning and return to Stuart Highway/A87. To reach Marla, please exit here. The town of Marla serves as a rest stop before continuing to Uluru. 

Take advantage of this break to restock on supplies, relax, and recharge before you have another day of traveling ahead of you. The town’s name comes from an Aboriginal phrase that refers to a kangaroo, and approximately 70 people live there.

Marla to Uluru

Uluru from the air
Uluru from the air.jpg – Wikimedia Commons
Driving TimeTotal Distance
About 6 hours517 km

Now, prepare for the 517-kilometer drive. You will reach Uluru after a 6-hour journey. Uluru is one of Australia’s most recognized sights is Uluru. It is 348 meters high and 9.4km in the circle (5.8 miles). Observing the sun rise or set over all the rock is an incredible opportunity that should not be missed.

The variety of colors that contrast with the granite will leave you breathless. In the same vein, remember to spend some time learning about the history and stories of Uluru. Also, the people who’ve lived there for more than 30,000 years.

Uluru to Kings Canyon

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Kings Canyon National Park | Kings Canyon National Park is a… | Flickr
Driving TimeTotal Distance
About 4 hours321 km

To reach the Kings Canyon, follow Peterman’s Red Center trail once you’ve packed up and departed this morning. Originally Kings Canyon was a part of Waterka National Park; however, walking is among the most incredible ways to observe it.

Take the challenging 6km hike around the canyon’s rim. Because of this, you can observe the gorge from a higher vantage point. There are many Aboriginal elder-led tours available where they will explain the significance of the area’s wildlife and plants to the original inhabitants.

Next, climb to the gorge’s Garden of Eden. This watering hole is lush and teeming with wildlife. Prepare to travel to Alice Springs once you have experienced Kings Canyon Adventure.

Kings Canyon to Alice Springs

Alice Springs 2015 01
Alice Springs, 2015 (01).JPG – Wikimedia Commons
Driving TimeTotal Distance
About 3.5 hours323km (200 miles)

Ready to embark on a journey to Alice Springs after traveling 323 kilometers from Kings Canyon. Spend the day touring Aboriginal art galleries and historical sites, including the Telegraph Station Historical Reserve and the famed Kangaroo Sanctuary (bookings required).

Walk along the MacDonnell Ranges, which range for almost 200 kilometers. Climb the red granite escarpments, descend through the gorges, or relax at one of the mysterious swimming holes.

Explore Simpson Gap, a must-see, with magnificent cliffs framing the waterhole for a beautiful but quiet swimming site. To observe the fauna and flora on foot, consider the Larapinta bushwalking routes, which run through the MacDonnell Ranges.

Alice Springs to Devil’s Marble

Devils Marbles
Devils Marbles.jpg – Wikimedia Commons
Driving TimeTotal Distance
About 4 hours and 40 minutes413 km

It is time to hit the road this morning and head to Devil’s Marbles via U.S. Route 87. The Devil’s Marbles are enormous ochre rock formations that the area’s indigenous inhabitants revere.

The contrast between the stones and the sky makes for a magnificent picture, particularly the differences that occur around sunset when the sky turns dark purple and orange. Take advantage of the various walking trails to enjoy the peace of this area.

 Devil Marble to Daly Waters

Daly waters pub outback servo australia
Daly-waters-pub-outback-servo-australia.jpg – Wikimedia Commons
Driving TimeTotal Distance
About 5 hours and 30 minutes501 km

Begin your journey this morning by getting on National Highway 87 and heading in the direction of the north. You will reach Daly Waters if you stay on National Highway 1 for a little longer.

The very first bar in Australia was called Daly Waters. You won’t find anything else, just like it anywhere else in the world besides Australia. You’ll find everything from the furnishings to the menu to the guests here.

There is something to admire in this. They provide traditional Australian dishes like parmas and steaks, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you may even order kangaroo or crocodile.

Daly Waters to Katherine

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Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge) – Northern Territ… | Flickr
Driving TimeTotal Distance
About 3 hours273 km

Take National Highway 1 out of town this morning. After turning right into Chamber Drive, bear to the left to make a left onto Catherine Street.

Explore Katherine’s waterways and cruise through the magnificent Katherine Gorge. Watch the environment change as you go to Nitmiluk National Park and endeavor to locate the indigenous wallabies. Hire a canoe or kayak and paddle down the shore for a more exciting experience.

The Top End is famous for its crocodiles, so go on a crocodile-spotting excursion to view them for yourself. Experience the thrill of seeing crocodiles leap from the water for their food by visiting one of the many crocodile farms or research facilities.

 Katherine to Kakadu

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Lizard head rock, Ubirr, Kakadu National Park, NT, Austral… | Flickr
Driving TimeTotal Distance
About 3 hours and 20 minutes301 km

Leave this morning on National Highway 1. Take the first right onto the Kakadu Highway/State Route 21. Keep going till you reach Kakadu National Park.

Discover the oldest still-existing culture in the world and its ties to the sacred land by visiting Kakadu National Park. The national park is packed with activities, so choose wisely.

Nothing beats swimming in the park’s natural pools, especially the Jim Jim plunge pool. You have been whisked away from modern civilization in this natural refuge encircled by the rainforest landscape.

Participate in one of the many available cultural tours to gain knowledge about rock art and the search for native foods.

 Kakadu to Darwin

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Darwin Northern Territory Australia | Photos taken on my 9-w… | Flickr
Driving TimeTotal Distance
About 2 hours and 45 minutes253 km

Your final stop is 253 kilometers away. So, set out this morning and travel west on State Route 36 toward Point Stuart Road. Turn left onto U.S. Route 1, and travel along Tiger Brennan Drive by keeping to the right.

Welcome to Darwin, the Northern Territory’s capital. Explore the Mindil Beach markets at dusk to sample some delectable regional cuisine and purchase trinkets. 

You will see one of Darwin’s famed sunsets here as the sky becomes hazy shades of purple and orange. Returning your campervan could take up to an hour.

What Should You Know Before Traveling from Adelaide to Darwin?

Traveling from Adelaide to Darwin is one of Australia’s most prolonged road excursions, and you’ll remain on the same road for most of the 3000+ kilometers. However, you need to consider various factors this time.

  • The scenery can get monotonous and unchanging for long stretches of highway, so take frequent rest stops to avoid burnout.
  • Ensure you have great roadside assistance and a container for extra water and fuel.
  • There are lots of rest spots and roadhouses, but you should still be prepared. If you become stuck or break down, someone will eventually come to your aid; you must be patient.
  • The route is frequently traversed by massive Australian road trains that convey freight between states. Just be careful when you’re overtaking them.
  • Kangaroos will begin to jump across the road as the sun sets, causing damage to automobiles and humans. As a result, be cautious of wildlife and avoid driving during the night.
  • When you enter the northern region, remember that you are entering crocodile territory, so be cautious around water sources and avoid camping near rivers.
  • Outside of Adelaide, Alice Springs, and Darwin, there is a shortage of available accommodations. However, there are numerous campgrounds on the route north. So, camping for the night will be the best option if you have a sturdy tent and other equipment.

FAQs

We have discovered almost all the necessary information you need before traveling from Adelaide to Darwin. Additionally, we have added three extra pieces of information for your convenience. Have a look at these;

Why is Darwin Famous For?

The city of Darwin is famous for its cuisine that draws inspiration from a variety of cultures, its outdoor markets, its waterside attractions, and its perpetually festive atmosphere.

When Is the Best Time to Travel from Adelaide to Darwin by Car?

Adelaide has a moderate climate with four distinct seasons. Winters can be chilly and rainy, and summers can be swelteringly hot. Darwin has a humid, tropical climate with frequent cyclones and heavy summer rainfall. So, the best time to visit Darwin is during the dry sessions (May-October).

Can you spend the night in your car in Darwin?

Sleeping or camping in any Australian public place inside Darwin and Palmerston municipal districts is strongly forbidden, with rangers constantly patrolling public spaces and enforcing on-the-spot fines. These covers spend the night in the car, caravan, camper, or tent.

Is a rat test required to enter Darwin?

You must require rapid antigen tests (RAT). In addition, you should ensure that you have a sufficient quantity of hand sanitizer and face masks.

Final Words

The journey from Adelaide to Darwin is undoubtedly regarded as one of the best road trips in Australia. Even though it will be a long voyage, many things are waiting to be uncovered.

You will have the chance to witness some of Australia’s most famous natural landmarks, such as Kings Canyon, Uluru, the MacDonnell Ranges, Alice Springs, the Devil’s Marbles, and many more. We are confident you’ll love the Adelaide to Darwin road trip very much. Happy traveling!

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Hi, I'm Md Abid Hasan. The owner & content editor of Travellye.com. Travellye.com is a travel blog that covers road trips, day trips, and destinations guide.

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